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10 Best Small Colleges in Pennsylvania

10 Best Small Colleges in Pennsylvania

8. Franklin and Marshall College

Franklin and Marshall is a private co-educational residential liberal arts college in the Northwest Corridor neighborhood of Lancaster. The school was founded in 1787 through the generosity of Benjamin Franklin, who donated 200 pounds sterling to finance its inception. With an undergraduate enrollment of 2,249, today the school is known for its top-notch research and innovation when it comes to student programing.

First-year students live in five college houses that are overseen by faculty members. Students live together, share meals together and attend events together. In addition to the events that student participate in through the college houses, there are 100 clubs and organizations including fraternities and sororities. The Common Hour is on Thursdays between 11:30 a.m. and 12:35 p.m. and it is a period of time for faculty and students campus-wide to join together for a lecture, a  short film or some other event.

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Some rights reserved by seng1011

The 200-acre campus is tree lined and is walking distance to downtown Lancaster. There is much that goes on Lancaster for the students to participate in. Shopping and dining away from campus cuisine are popular student activities.

On the First Friday of each month, the stores and restaurants stay open late for a time of celebration. On the Third Fridays, the art galleries and performance centers host entertainment and shows. Students can also shop for groceries and crafts in Central Market the local Farmer’s Market. If a more urban setting is what is desired, Philadelphia is only 90 minutes away.

Students are encouraged to study abroad with 200 different locations around the world and also to participate in research projects where students and faculty combine their efforts together. The Franklin and Marshall Diplomats athletic teams participate in Division III Centennial Conference and have outstanding men’s basketball teams and women’s lacrosse teams. Some of the more popular majors are Business Administration and Management, General, Psychology, Creative Writing, Political Science and Government and General Economics.

The cost to attend Franklin and Marshall is $52,290. For tuition and fees with room and board totaling about $13,120. Fifty-two percent of all full-time undergraduates receive some kind of need-based financial aid, and the average need-based scholarship or grant award is $41,659. The acceptance percentage is 32%. The average loan debt for graduating seniors is $20,252.

The average starting salary upon graduation $46,000.

7. Lafayette College

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Lafayette College is a private liberal arts college in Easton, Pennsylvania. The school was founded in 1826 by James Madison Porter and the citizens of Easton. The founders voted to name the school after General Lafayette who toured the country in 1824 -25 and in recognition of his role in the Revolutionary War.

The campus is located in the Lehigh Valley, 70 miles west of New York City and 60 miles north of Philadelphia. The school requires all students to live on campus with a few specific exemptions. The total enrollment is 2,533 students.

Lafayette College offers a Bachelor Degrees in 37 different fields of study and the college also offers Bachelor of Science Degrees in 10 areas of Science and 4 in the field of Engineering. The most popular majors are Economics, Social Sciences, Engineering, Biology, English, and Psychology.

The student body can participate in over 250 clubs and organizations including fraternities and sororities and athletics, special interest groups, community service clubs and honor societies. The College leads all liberal arts colleges with the most Goldwater Scholarship recipients for the past six years.

There are all kinds of activities that are ongoing on campus and in the winter time there is skiing and snowboarding in the nearby Pocono Mountains. There is an indoor rock climbing wall and an on-campus night club called The Spot.

Lafayette Leopards participate in the NCAA Division I Patriot League. The year begins at Lafayette with the President’s Ball, which is a formal dance and ends with All-College Day, which is a campus-wide event with music and, of course, food. And if you are still going strong into the night you can get another bite to eat at the Midnight Breakfast and be served by members of the faculty.

The acceptance rate at Lafayette College is 30%. The tuition costs are $48,885. And the room and board costs are $14,470.  Thirty-two percent of full-time students receive some form of financial aid and the average need-based scholarship or grant award is $37,495. The average student loan debt upon graduation is $29,124. The average starting salary upon graduation is $46,000.

6. York College

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Some rights reserved by York College of PA

York College of Pennsylvania is located in York, Pennsylvania and is a private, coeducational, 4-year college that offers more than 50 majors in Professional Programs, the Sciences, and Humanities. York College traces its roots back to the York County Academy which opened in the 1770’s.

The Campus is located outside of downtown York in Spring Garden Township, and it is 100 miles west of Philadelphia and 52 miles north of Baltimore. Sitting at the center of the campus is a grassy quad around which a number of the college’s academic buildings are located. The overarching focus at York College is to prepare its 4900 full-time undergraduate students for professional careers and at an affordable price.

York College is ranked by “Parents and Colleges” as 8th on its list of Top 10 Value Private Colleges and Universities. “The Washington Post” listed the college among 100 “Colleges Worth Considering”.

There are 90 clubs and organizations that students can belong to and participate in on campus. There are a number of fraternities and sororities on campus as well. The Waldner Performing Arts Center contains a 705 seat York Collegiate Theatre, and Perko Playpen Theatre is the home of The College Players who perform on stage. The York Collegiate Theatre also hosts musical performances, nationally recognized speakers and other special events for the college community to enjoy.

There are several athletic facilities throughout the campus. The Grumbacher Sport and Fitness Center is a 160,000 square foot complex. It is the location for the Charles Wolf Gymnasium which is the site of many varsity sports activities from men’s and women’s basketball to volleyball to a ten-lane competitive pool. Athletics and wellness activities are offered to all students.

The College’s athletic teams compete in the competitive Capital Athletic Conference and the men, and the women Spartans compete in NCAA Division III.  The Midnight Madness pep rally is attended by the students to celebrate the beginning of the school’s basketball season.

Spartapalooza is a celebration with music and games that is part of the York College traditions along with the signing of the school rock by graduates after commencement.

Tuition and fees for York College stand at $18,780, with room and board costs at $10,460. Sixty-six percent of all students receive some kind of need-based financial aid. The average scholarship or grant award is $5,458. The acceptance rate is 45.5%. The average student loan debt upon graduation is $43,056. The average starting salary upon graduation $38,000.


Jamie Stewart America Unraveled's resident expert on all things higher ed!


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